We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Getting Ready for Advent

Happy New Year! – Advent is a season of waiting, of rest but also a time to find new beginnings. Since the 900s Advent has been considered the beginning of the Church year.  Today we move from a concentration from the Gospel of Matthew to the Gospel of Mark

The name “Advent” actually comes from the Latin word adventus which means “coming.” It is a reminder of how the Jewish nation waited for the Messiah and how Christians are now waiting for the return of Christ.

Advent is like a breath of fresh air -a new church year, a new set of Gospel readings, and the anticipation of the birth of Christ.

The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. It blends together a penitential spirit, very similar to Lent, a liturgical theme of preparation for the Second and Final Coming of the Lord, called the Parousia, and a joyful theme of getting ready for the Bethlehem event.

Symbolism is an important way we can move into Advent as a people.

The advent wreath before you is a German Tradition as opposed to many of our traditions which are English.

The Advent wreath, four candles on a wreath of evergreen, is shaped in a perfect circle to symbolize the eternity of God and the endless love for us.   

The Advent Wreath is a beautiful and evocative reminder of the life-giving qualities of light. The candles represent Jesus coming as the light in darkness.

The evergreens used in the wreath are reminders of ongoing life, even in the face of death.  They maintain their green color beyond the season in which they are collected.

At the center of the wreath is a white candle, which is called the Christ Candle. This candle is lit on Christmas Eve as a reminder that Jesus, the light of the world, has been born and has come to dwell with us.

Today, many churches have begun to use blue instead of purple, as a means of distinguishing Advent from Lent.  It still represents the need for repentance during this season and the feeling of penitence.

Blue also signifies the color of the night sky or the waters of the new creation in Genesis 1. Blue emphasizes the season is also about hope and anticipation of the coming of Christ. Christ is about transformation as the sky changes from dark to light filling our lives with grace

During each Sunday of the Advent season, we focus on one of the four virtues Jesus brings us: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. Three of the candles are purple/blue. The Third candle is pink, a color of joy,  the joy that Jesus is almost here. Rejoice!

The first Sunday is Hope. Israel was waiting for a king, a Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer who would change their circumstances, make them a great nation and throw off the tyranny of Rome. They were waiting for a person but what they really hoped for was a change of circumstances.

Advent begins in a season of darkness but using the Advent wreath we see light winning over darkness. Lighting candles is a way we can keep time in Church.  And as the season passes, and another candle is lit each week, light finally wins out over darkness with the turn of the solstice in the stars and the birth of Christ on the ground

Advent Traditions

Advent Wreath